August 18, 2011

Learning to count

Something didn't look right with the turret armor. Sure enough, I had miscounted the number of armor panels. I had 14 but there were supposed to be 16.  So I ripped off the armor wrapper and made a new one.

I also decided to redo the turret roof using the same basic design as used on the USS Monitor. The Monitor had railroad rails under perforated plate. This photo shows the Monitor turret under conservation at the Mariner's Museum in Newport News, VA.

So while I was at it,  I ripped off the roof and made a new one. Since I didn't have any the images of the Passaic turret roof, I am going with this. I think it looks more interesting too. The Passaic was essentially an improved Monitor, so this may even be right.

Alvah Hunter describes the railroad rails and perforated iron plate construction in his book, "A Year on a Monitor and the Destruction of Fort Sumter." He also describes wooden gratings over the perforated plate on top of the turret. He mentions removable ladders used to get to the top of the turret, but did not describe how to get into the pilot house. He mentions only one hatch, so I may need to revise my turret roof again.

The revised floor has a perforated deck. I may leave the hatches open so that the guns and interior would be
partially visible through them.

With the correct number of armor panels all the rivet and panels line up correctly.

Upside down view showing the simulated rails and beams.

The photo aboves shows the  gun port inserts that fit in overly large gun port holes in the turret walls. These inserts are laser cut to the same shape as the gunport in the armor. The inserts made lining up the gun port armor and walls much easier as now I do not have to drill the gunport holes through the walls. A little bit of sanding and they where done. Once I add a turret liner, it will hide the wood layers and the gun port inserts.

The US Monitors had wrought iron plates covering the rivets in the turret. This design prevented rivet heads from becoming flying missiles if struck and broken off in battle. It was essentially an early form of spall liner a design used on modern armored vehicles. These ironclads were amazing advanced designs.

If anyone knows how the crew accessed the pilot house, please let me know. I can see no ladder or access door in any of the photos or drawings.

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